Downton Abbey back for a 5th Season in 2015

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Mark Collins, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Fans are up for 'Downton Abbey' starting Season 4
    Jan. 2, 2014, 11:08 AM EST
    By FRAZIER MOORE , AP Television Writer
    NEW YORK (AP) -- As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, "Downton Abbey" remains a saga about elegance, tradition and gentility -- and the pressures of preserving them.
    On the premiere, airing Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on PBS, Lady Mary Crawley has buckled under the weight of widowhood six months after her husband, Matthew, perished in a car crash. Inconsolable at the start of the episode, Mary (played by Michelle Dockery) dismisses their infant son as "a poor little orphan."
    Photos: 'Downton Abbey' Season 4
    Her father, Lord Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), wrestles with business pressures: the death of Matthew and the absence of a will have thrown the Downton manor, already financially fragile, into further crisis.
    Meanwhile, the modern world of 1922 bears down on the Downton hidebound. Just consider the encroachment of an electric mixer, the newest threat to the culinary status quo over which Mrs. Patmore reigns in the kitchen.
    Even so, Mrs. Patmore remains squat, high-strung yet unbending under the pressures of keeping the Downton nobility well-fed.
    In a recent interview, Lesley Nicol, who plays her, recalls filming the series' original episode with Mrs. Patmore "shouting at everybody and being horrible. As an actor you go, 'Is she just a plain, nasty piece of work?'"
    But Nicol says she was set straight by the series' historical adviser, who reminded her that the character is "solely responsible for the food in that house. If you go to dinner at Downton, it's got to be the best you've ever had. Sometimes people are harsh because they need things to be right."
    That was a key ingredient for playing Mrs. Patmore, but the recipe keeps the pressure on Nicol to look authentic doing it, because "viewers are looking for mistakes they are!"
    With a lifetime of credits that include the musical "Mamma Mia!" and the films "East Is East" and its sequel, "West Is West," Nicol must rely on her acting chops to be convincing as a cook, because (she readily confesses) she isn't one in real life: While her husband likes to throw dinner parties, "I'm front-of-the-house," she explains with a laugh. "I do the talking and the pouring of the drinks."
    It's no secret that "Downton Abbey" has dined out on startling success from almost the first moment it hit the air in Britain in 2010 (three months before its U.S. debut).
    It has gained a firm foothold in the culture, won 10 Emmys and two Golden Globes, and found a robust audience that rose to the challenge of calling it "Downton," not "Downtown." Last season's finale drew 8.2 million U.S. viewers, most of them left shattered by Matthew's demise as they faced the long wait to see how the "Downton" elite and underclass would cope.
    In November there was a bit of good news for rabid fans with the announcement that, yes, next year there will be a fifth season. That news freed viewers to fret about their favorite show's fate beyond 2015: How many years will "Downton" carry on?
    Just ask "Downton" executive producer Gareth Neame. Everybody else has.
    "We know there's going to be more than five," he replies patiently, "and I know there's going to be less than 10. I don't know what happens between now and then."
    Neame is the managing director of London-based Carnival Films and a "Downton" executive producer who, a few years ago, put the show in motion over dinner with Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning writer of the 2001 murder mystery "Gosford Park."
    Neame was a fan of that ensemble drama, set at an English country house in the 1930s where a party of wealthy Brits and their servants convened for a shooting weekend. He proposed that Fellowes create a series with the same social stratification, politesse and melodrama. Its starting point was rolled back to the eve of World War I.
    With Carnival (whose credits include such series as "Jeeves and Wooster," ''Traffik" and "Whitechapel") set to produce, Neame sold "Downton" to the British commercial network ITV.
    "I wanted to position the show on a very broad mainstream entertainment channel," he says. But in the U.S., no commercial networks were biting (ironically, not even NBC, whose parent company owns Carnival Films). Neame found a buyer instead in public television's "Masterpiece" anthology.
    But it goes without saying the series caught on far beyond that in more than 200 countries.
    "They're crazy for it in China," marvels Nicol, who found out firsthand on a visit there: "I've seen me speaking Mandarin!"
    "The show is everything I'd hoped for, times 100," says Neame. But when success is multiplied, so, often, is accompanying pressure. "There's such an insatiable demand for the show. So much is expected of it!"
    Neame works closely on the story lines with Fellowes, whom he credits as "the sole writer and the creator of the show" while describing his own role as "ultimate custodian of the whole thing.
    "Julian and I are making the show we want to make," he says. "It's our cup of tea. We make it for us, and then, hopefully, people will come along."
    But at some point in the not-too-very-distant future, those people will be forced to say goodbye. Then Lady Mary, Lord Robert, Mrs. Patmore and the rest will be consigned to viewers' memories (and reruns, of course).
    "There are only seven stories," says Neame, citing a familiar literary thesis, "and I think the challenge with a long-running TV show is to retell those seven stories without anyone noticing. But there could come a time where we'll be going, 'What do we do now?' And I don't want to get to that place.
    "I think the show is in very good health at the moment," he declares. "But people should enjoy it while it's there. It won't be there forever."
    Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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    The blu-rays ARE cut for I watched scenes when it aired the last 3 seasons on PBS. Why can this be? Starting with Edith's Wedding it was really cut. I have the UK versions too.
     
  2. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    The blu-rays are edited? That's the first I've heard of that, and it's surprising, since the discs are labeled "U.K. Edition."
     
  3. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Yes Sam they are. You really can tell when you slap on your blu-rays of an episode right after the episode has aired. Season 3 the first show and last two shows were not edited. The rest were. The dialog playing will have words taken from a scene here and there and some whole scenes are taken out all together. I hope they do not edit this year. I would rather have bonus features edited.

    I want to make it clear to people that is does not destroy the content of the show. Still since it was filmed and broadcast why cannot we have all of it. The old theory was the American version was cut so buy the UK. Oh well I still love the show and my UK blu-rays have long since been on order from Amazon.

    I noticed these edits last year during season 3 because I was really hooked on the show. One scene The Mulberrys divorce was talked about between Edith and Sir Anthony in the wedding episode and was cut from the Blu-ray in total. I can see why some edits were done to shorten things but why do it at all on a blu-ray. You would think it would be done on the broadcast. I was just surprised to see catching the show in reruns over the past few months how much it was done to certain scenes.

    I guess you would call me a huge Downton Fan to even notice. Haha
     
  4. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I too was under that impression.
     
  5. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    I found two other posts talking about the PBS broadcast moments cut from the Blu-ray sets.

    Here was the best of the lot. Comments from Season 2.

    Oddly, there was about a minute that was in the PBS broadcast that is NOT on the blu-ray! (spoiler) For those who saw the broadcast, there was a small snippet that happened after the singing of "If You Were the Only Girl in the World".
    While they were standing in the hall, Matthew and Mary are talking and a soldier goes by in a wheelchair. Matthew looks "haunted" and Mary asks him why. He says that when he is at Downton it doesn't feel real, and that he is haunted because he knows he has to go back. Mary tells him to hold on, that it can't be much longer--and grabs him by the arm.
    Now, this is NOT on the UK blu or dvd. Sad and pathetic as it is, I have to admit to having both of them. :D I had seen the UK dvd before the PBS broadcast , and then I watched the broadcast and lo and behold--there was this minute or two that I hadn't seen on the dvd. I guess no version has the whole thing, and I realize that I'll never see that little character moment again. I wish they'd stop cutting shows differently.

    I hope this year there will be no edits on our blu- rays. Like I said before they are so minor that the edits do not take away from the show.
     
  6. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    The sentence below is what should be said about the Downton blu-rays.

    Some scenes that were shown when The Bible aired may not be included in this release. These missing scenes are an artistic choice, not a defect.

    I would still buy them but it's nice that on the Bible that they tell you up front about it being edited. I hope season 4 will be as broadcast.
     
  7. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    I received my Downton Blu-rays last week and I was sad to see that they are edited as the past 3 seasons have been. I only watch what has been broadcast up to this date. I do not want to spoil the finale which comes at the end of this month. The edits are the same as in the past 90 seconds here and there.
     
  8. JMas

    JMas Stunt Coordinator

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    Are the regular DVDs also edited, or just the Blu-rays?
     
  9. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    JMas,Sorry I took so long with the question. I assume they would be. I started to look at the Amazon reviews but did not want to spoil the plot of the show by reading them. I only caught that others were complaining on the Blu-rays such as I did.
     
  10. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Craig Ferguson(as in the guy after Dave)....

    Is a fan of the show. He mentioned being dismayed the show was edited as well. He found a friend that had DVR'd the show over there, had them copy to DVD and mail it to him. I forget who his guest was though. Might have been Laura Linney.(if not Linney, it was one of the impossibly cute young Brit chics...)
     
  11. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Downton 2 hour finale Sunday Night. Just like last year the edits on the Blu-ray were not on the last 3 episodes. Why this is I have no idea. Let us just say I hope they will not edit scenes from Sundays broadcast. I hope next years blu-rays will be the broadcast versions. I guess one can only hope
     
  12. The Obsolete Man

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    Bit of an old thread, but I just got around to watching through S3 and 4 and did some digging on the 'net about the "cuts"...

    Apparently, according to something I found somewhere on the net, the DVDs have the original ITV UK broadcast versions on them. The scenes that people are seeing on PBS and are "cut" from the DVDs are short filler scenes PBS inserted in to pad the shows out for their Masterpiece timeslots.

    So, you're not missing anything on the DVD/Blus from the original UK broadcasts, but you are missing small filler scenes inserted for America by PBS.

    Now, why they don't do a version where the filler scenes for PBS are inserted into the ITV broadcasts so everyone gets everything is anyone's guess.

    It's funny... for S1, people complained because Masterpiece cut pieces from the episodes, so everyone wanted the original UK broadcast versions on DVD. Now, the original UK Broadcast versions are what we get on DVD, and PBS is adding in extra scenes to the Masterpiece version of the show, so people are complaining when those added PBS scenes aren't on the DVDs.

    Oh, and I just finished E3 of S4. Not entirely comfortable with the Anna/Bates story they began for S4. But, I guess I'll have to see where that goes.
     
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  13. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Robert what a great post!!!!!!!!! We get the answer after all this time and in detail

    Like I always say here is another example why I love HTF. What great members we have here.
     
  14. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Screenwriter

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    I was a bit dismayed at hearing the DVDs were possibly cut in some way, so I went searching for an answer. And, I finally found one that made sense... because you never hear people from the UK talking about edits to the episodes, now do you?

    Here's a tumblr post explaining it all

    http://angel-princess-anna.tumblr.com/post/73186152709/edits-and-additional-scenes-in-the-pbs-airings-faq

    Now that's a superfan. :lol:

    So, bottom line, the DVDs are the "official" version, but there are a few more versions out there and scenes used vary from country to country. So until they decide to throw everything on the DVDs, it's a case of choosing which way you want to watch the episodes and that's your official version.

    And personally, I don't feel so bad about the DVDs now. I know I'm not missing anything from the "official" versions of the episodes. Now, if they were to make the DVDs with special expanded episodes, like has been done with various shows in the past (Psych has done this with their DVDs, IIRC), I would be thrilled. But as long as I'm not missing anything from the original broadcast, I'm cool with it.
     
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  15. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Robert once more thanks again for that research! I really was sort of upset about it but thanks to you I have a different view of the matter.
     
  16. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    I do want to know why Season 5 on DVD is more expensive than the previous 4 seasons - almost double when shopping around?
     
  17. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    [*] News about Maggie Smith Award From The Queen

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    Stay up-to-date on this news topic[/list][*] Images of maggie smith award from the queen



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  18. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    January 4th begins the new season. The kids of Tom and Mary are older. wonder what the plot will be. PBS during their fund raiser suggested we are not done with Bates. They hinted at a great deal of things,I love the fact it comes on after all the Christmas decorations are put away and we here in the Midwest are in the middle of Winter.
     
  19. Eric Huffstutler

    Eric Huffstutler Screenwriter

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    Ours are still up for the Epiphany. Still puzzled over the price jump?
     
  20. Mark Collins

    Mark Collins Cinematographer

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    Looking forward to the start up on Jan 4th but will once again hate those edits on my BD's. I could swear without looking it up that I am paying the same as last year from Amazon. I pre ordered the minute it went up for sale.

    Eric last year I made a change and began taking decorations down in stages after Christmas which helped. I always take the tree down etc on New Years Day. I always have decorations up the week before Thanksgiving.

    I refuse to do outside decorations it just is to cold and saves on electric bill. Many of the houses around here keep their outside decorations up year round!

    Last year was the worst winter on record for Chicago with below zero temps and never ending snow. Even Lake Michigan completely froze over which was mind blowing.

    You are right I am spending 15 dollars more. I wonder if this is going to be the last season?
     

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